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Deception Pass State Park is the most-visited State Park in Washington with over 2 million visitors each year. Nationally it ranks 4th in day use attendance and 8th in overnight camping. The park was officially established in 1922, when the original 1600 acres of a military reserve was transferred to Washington State Parks. The park's facilities were greatly enhanced in the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built roads, trails, and buildings in order to develop the park. The main attraction is the spectacular bridges over Deception Pass. Deception Pass State Park is also a destination for kayaking and boat tours, saltwater and freshwater fishing, bird watching, hiking, scuba diving and camping. There are 30 miles of hiking trails and 19 miles of saltwater shoreline. The bridges were finished in 1935, the bigger one spans 976-feet.
Deception Pass is where the tidal flow and whirlpools beneath move quickly. During low tides, the swift current can lead to standing waves, large whirlpools, and roiling eddies. This swift current phenomenon can be viewed from the bridges pedestrian walkways or from the trail leading below the larger south bridge from the parking lot on the Whidbey Island side.
The first Europeans to see Deception Pass were members of the 1790 expedition of Manuel Quimper on the Princesa Real. The Spanish gave it the name Boca de Flon. A group of sailors led by Joseph Whidbey, part of the Vancouver Expedition, found and mapped Deception Pass on June 7, 1792. George Vancouver gave it the name "Deception" because it had misled him into thinking Whidbey Island was a peninsula. The "deception" was heightened due to Whidbey's failure to find the strait at first. In May 1792, Vancouver was anchored near the southern end of Whidbey Island. He sent Joseph Whidbey to explore the waters east of Whidbey Island, now known as Saratoga Passage, using small boats. Whidbey reached the northern end of Saratoga Passage and explored eastward into Skagit Bay, which is shallow and difficult to navigate. He returned south to rejoin Vancouver without having found Deception Pass. It appeared that Skagit Bay was a dead-end and that Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island were a long peninsula attached to the mainland. In June the expedition sailed north along the west coast of Whidbey Island. Vancouver sent Joseph Whidbey to explore inlets leading to the east. The first inlet turned out to be a "very narrow and intricate channel, which...abounded with rocks above and beneath the surface of the water". This channel led to Skagit Bay, thus separating Whidbey Island from the mainland. Vancouver apparently felt he and Joseph Whidbey had been deceived by the tricky strait. Vancouver wrote of Whidbey's efforts: "This determined [the shore they had been exploring] to be an island, which, in consequence of Mr. Whidbey’s circumnavigation, I distinguished by the name of Whidbey’s Island: and this northern pass, leading into (Skagit Bay), Deception Passage".
Deception Pass State Park
Below: Map of Deception Pass area with trail up Goose Rock shown in blue
Goose Rock Trail
Trail is 0.4 miles long with around 400 feet of gain. Start at the parking area on the south side of the bridges. Walk under the bridge and turn right. Go 0.2 miles and turn left. Follow trail beyond making right turns until there isn't anything higher. Lots of loop trip possibilities.
Left: On the summit of Goose Rock
Picnic area near North Beach
Deception Pass Bridge
From the bridge area looking to North Beach
On the Deception Pass Bridge
View from the smaller Deception Pass Bridge
From North Beach looking at the larger bridge
Bowman Bay area
From Goose Rock looking into the Rosario Strait and Deception Island
Olympic Mountains from Goose Rock